Gone are the days when women are “for home-use only”— days when women were expected to ONLY stay at home to care for the children and keep the house tidy. At that time, when a mother wanted to work, she’s forced to choose between motherhood or career. Being a millenial myself, I’m fortunate to belong to an era that wavered from this concept. I, together with millions of other women, have taken matters on our hands and created a work-life balance by operating a business.
Though it’s extremely rewarding (earning money, doing your passion, ensuing creativity, recognition, accolades), it’s not all peaches and creams. Behind all of these shiny, shimmering, splendid lies blood, sweat, tears and guilt. Yes, guilt. “Am I not giving enough time for the kids, the business?” I know because this has gone deep in me numerous times!
Albeit being fairly new in operating a brick and mortar business, I’ve somehow managed to create strategies that work for me; managing being a single mother (as of this time of writing) to a 4 year-old and handling the business.
Get organized & balance your time. Set goals for family and for business. Envision what exactly do you want in life; do you want to be a mother and also owning a business? Go for it. Follow through with your goals. Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO, points out in her book Lean In, women need to approach their goals rather than pulling away; take that leap of faith. Also, when it’s time for the family, it should be family; when it’s for the business, then it is. I’m typically out around lunch time to take care of the business and be back home at night ; I make sure that I take care of Saehee’s morning stuff and play/bond with her before bed time. It likewise helps waking up earlier in the morning than she does so I can have time to review goals for the day and set my self in the right track— ready to take on and make the day, my day. Haha!
Get children involved. Before opening the shop, I was already prepping Saehee’s mindset that mommy will be doing some things so we can have money to buy her food and be able to send her to school. Although her young mind was trying to comprehend, there were still instances that she would not let me go and ‘fight’ for attention. I decided to bring her to the shop so she can see what mommy is doing to earn the money; being the caring and diligent little girl that she is, she ended up insisting to help in small work loads like handing the plastic bags when customers purchase, arranging the clothes etc. Children love it when they feel that they’re a part of something; it might seem like play to them but they’re actually being taught at a young age some realities in life like earning money. Plus, it can be a good bonding time too!
Get help. Asking for help in taking care of the kids while you work on the business does not make you less or a bad mother. It’s being smart. It’s cute to be a Superwoman but even she has to go back to her human persona and be, well, human. We are mortal beings. Mortals have limitation. Don’t be afraid of hiring a nanny or asking for a family or a friend to watch over the kids while you handle entrepreneurial concerns. Trying to do everything on your own, all at once, will drain your energy and your creativity/logical abilities will downgrade. I was in this situation recently and it wasn’t a pretty term.
Have & prioritize “Me Time”. Watching a movie, having a sip of coffee at a cafe, reading a good book , retail therapy (as long as it doesn’t hurt the bank account) or perhaps a bubble bath sounds good, yes? All of these, lady boss, should be enjoyed by YOU. Yourself. Alone. It’s important to do something that you love and enjoy (the type that doesn’t stress you) because it nourishes the soul. With the kind of environment that we have as mothers and business owners, the responsibilities at hand, can take a toll on us. This is where Tip numero 4 also comes into play. Love yourself. If you don’t love yourself, how can we give that to others?
Career moms are heroes among us who wear many hats. Whether they answer to the call, “mommy” or “boss”, they are constantly on the go. Personally, I take pride of this path that I took because at the end of the day, I look back and say, ” I wouldn’t have changed my life for a second”. Makes it all worth it!